These ancient religious festivals held throughout Brittany to honour the local patron saint are held in procession led by the priest and followed by singing pilgrims carrying colourful banners.
Locronan’s ‘Petite Tromenie’ (second Sunday in July) is one of the oldest and largest, processing to 12 sites in the forest, ending at Locronan Mountain.
Rochefort-en-Terre holds its Pardon annually in August and Hennebont on the third Sunday in September.
In May, the pardon in Treguier is one of Brittany’s largest, with an enormous church mass and ten thousand pilgrims in procession through the streets. Dressed in black, red, and ermine and carrying yellow and gold flags, they honour St-Yves, the patron saint of lawyers.
These village fetes are often held with a Pardon involving food and drink, with Breton costumes, music and traditional dancing.
25 - 28 May 2017
Four days in May of concerts, traditional music and food markets, celebrating the local fishing industry - particularly cod. Picturesque boats, fishermen sharing their knowledge of the sea, and a variety of special cod dishes to try.
June - November 2017
Focused specifically on the environment, this arts event fully intends to become part of the landscape. The exhibition counts several hundred large format photos, taken by well-known artists and amateur photographers and takes place throughout the quaint cobbled streets of the charming village of La Gacilly. Created in 2004, it aims to make the public think about the future of the planet. Very thought provoking, each year the festival invites us to reflect on the fragility of the world in which we live.
Aiming to promote artistic freedom and creativity, this event has become a crossroads for both dance and theatre for international directors and choreographers. Using all that surrounds them - normal, day-to-day places of everyday life - to create fantastic shows where artists play with their surroundings, giving everybody the opportunity to join in, and putting people at the heart of their art.
This event has taken place every summer for nearly 20 years. Every year some 20,000 people invade the dance floors of a dozen or so venues in and around Brest. A winter version is also held in January.
7 July - 17 September 2017
Each summer contemporary art and religious art come together. Art takes over some 20 or so chapels situated around the Blavet Valley. These chapels can be found tucked away in the midst of the Breton countryside (Brittany's rich heritage). Visual artists get the opportunity to create original site-specific work, in order to exhibit these chapels, which mostly date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The perfect day out to discover the mystery of artistic creativity.
19, 20, 21, 22 July 2018
One of Europe’s most important medieval festivals, this event is celebrated with medieval-style jousting, banquets, fairs and processions, culminating in an immense fireworks display. There is a market every Thursday in the places du Champ and du Guesclin, the original medieval fairground. For more information contact the Tourism Office, tel: (00 33) 2 96 87 69 76
18 - 23 July 2017
Taking place every year at the end of July in Quimper, this Cornish Festival offers more than 180 shows and concerts that take place each day, even during the night. It is one of the most important cultural events of Brittany, and it is almost 100 years old! While the festival has changed and evolved over its century of existence, the aim has always been the same: promoting the diversity and wealth of Breton culture.
15 -20 August 2017
Folk dance and music festival dating back to the nineteenth century. Celtic dancers and musicians perform throughout the town plus fest-noz celebrations.
Tel: (00 33) 2 96 43 73 89
13 - 15 August 2017
This festival aims to promote Breton culture and history in Vannes - and to do so, each year, they organise dances, music and shows all over the city. People come in wearing traditional costumes, exhibitions take place and, thanks to the combined work of associations and youth groups, the festival remains a fresh, dynamic event.
17 - 20 August 2017
Twice a year in winter and in summer - named 'Winter Collection' and 'Summer Collection', after the French fashion terms - the beach and Old Castle of Saint-Malo come alive to the sound of rock. Bringing together between 20 000 and 27 000 visitors each year, this exciting festival lasts 4 days. What's best, UK festival goers get a special package when booking their ticket - see the official Route du Rock website for more info.
15 - 20 August 2017
Over 100 years old, this takes place every August. Typical Breton-style costumed parade, with dancing and games. Some want to win Gouren (a type of Breton wrestling), while others learns steps to traditional Breton dance or play palets ('boules' Breton style). See the new Miss Filets Bleus, chosen from the young girls of Concarneau. The quays of Concarneau used to be covered in the blue sardine-fishing nets, hence the name for this festival. One of the most popular festivals of traditional Breton culture.
27 September - 1 October 2017
This annual event screens top English-language films throughout the whole of October. The selection comprises a mix of old and new, and the event includes a number of awards. On the more informal side, head to the main square for the opening screening. As this is open-air, don’t forget to take chairs with you.
This event has become a crossroads for both dance and theatre for international directors and choreographers. The festival has stretched to Brest, Vannes, Quimper and Lannion. An incredible number of exclusive live shows at this event.
2017 dates TBC
Entre Terre et Mer is a festival in Morlaix, bringing together both agriculture and maritime communities to celebrate the land and the sea. For a weekend, land and sea become one as they reveal all the riches of the Bay of Morlaix.
Visitors to the festival will get to experience the lives of both men of the land and sea through events in Roscoff, St Pol-de-Leon and Carantec as well as Morlaix itself. The highlight of the festival is the regatta when 300 traditional boats go round the bay and then up the river to Morlaix.
2020 dates TBC (every 4 years)
The city will welcome over 2,500 vessels including tall ships from around the world. A celebration of different cultures and seafaring traditions, entire sections of the festival are dedicated to foreign flotillas, their music, food, and culture.
During the entire week, there will be fireworks, music, animation and, at night, the entire harbour of Brest and its ships alight, making for a magnificent, breathtaking show. And for those interested, the festival also offers scientific, oceanographic and industrial research projects, to learn more about ships and the sea all while having fun.
Please check precise details and dates with event organisers before making your holiday and travel arrangements.